Blue Rodeo

Blue Rodeo are a rock/"alt country" band making some of the best music in Canada. I must acquire more of their CDs.

Outskirts

(1986)
  1. Heart Like Mine
  2. Rose-Coloured Glasses
  3. Rebel
  4. Joker's Wild
  5. Piranha Pool
  6. Outskirts
  7. Underground
  8. 5 Will Get You Six
  9. Try
  10. Floating

So-so. The lack of pedal steel in the band's early days is a bit of a bummer for me, but it's still an OK album.

The synthesizer (Acetone?) sure makes it obvious that the album is from the mid-'80s. Unfortunately, it distracts me somewhat from most of the songs' better qualities.

"Rebel" is easily my favourite track. "Heart Like Mine", "Underground", and the title track are pretty good, too.

And, you know, I do just wanna fi-i-ind (I just wanna find) a heart like mi-ine (a heart like mine). But hey, who doesn't?

I wonder whether they had any trouble deciding on a title for #9.

Diamond Mine

(1989)
  1. Swells
  2. God and Country
  3. How Long
  4. Blues Piano
  5. Love and Understanding
  6. Girl Of Mine
  7. Diamond Mine
  8. Now and Forever
  9. Percussive Piano
  10. House of Dreams
  11. Nice Try
  12. Fall In Line
  13. One Day
  14. Florida
  15. Fuse
  16. The Ballad of the Dime Store Greaser and The Blonde Mona Lisa

I'd have to say this this is one of Blue Rodeo's better albums. I like the open/hollow/echo-y/reverb-y sounds of a number of the songs, especially "Now and Forever", "One Day", and the title track.

Still some goofy keyboarding on this one--not as annoying as on Outskirts, but still makes me shake my head and wonder once in a while.

Casino

(1990)
  1. Til I Am Myself Again
  2. What Am I Doing Here?
  3. 5 A. M. (A Love Song)
  4. Montréal
  5. Last Laugh
  6. Trust Yourself
  7. Two Tongues
  8. Time
  9. After the Rain
  10. You're Everywhere

Am I allowed to put something in my CD rack if I bought it as an MP3 download and not an actual CD?

I miss having liner notes, but they weren't worth the extra $28 for the new ("import") CD, and I hate buying used CDs I can't inspect beforehand.

Well, whatever. Seems to be a really good album. That's what matters.

Lost Together

(1992)
  1. Fools Like You
  2. Rain Down on Me
  3. Restless
  4. Western Skies
  5. The Big Push
  6. Willin' Fool
  7. Already Gone
  8. Flying
  9. Lost Together
  10. Where Are You Now?
  11. Last to Know
  12. Is It You
  13. Angels

Pretty good. I like all the songs without "Fool" in the title.

"Restless" and "Angels" rock out, and most or all of Jim Cuddy's songs are great, whether "Flying", "Already Gone" (not a cover of the Eagles' song), "Last to Know", or whatever.

"Western Skies" has some awfully nifty steel guitar.

Five Days In July

(1993)

[album cover]

  1. Five Days in May
  2. Hasn't Hit Me Yet
  3. Bad Timing
  4. Cynthia
  5. Photograph
  6. What Is This Love?
  7. English Bay
  8. Head Over Heels
  9. Til I Gain Control Again
  10. Dark Angel
  11. Know Where You Go/Tell Me Your Dream

The music on this album is very good, though the lyrics seem a little awkward or clumsy at times.

Bobby Wiseman is outta here, and James Gray is back in; Kim Deschamps is an official band member, no longer an additional/guest musician.

Blue Rodeo appeared on Austin City Limits in 2002. I tend to prefer "Cynthia" and "Hasn't Hit Me Yet" from that performance over the CD versions, but these are still good.

I don't know what the deal is with "What Is This Love?", but I've never heard a slower, quieter song from a bunch of guys who also know how to rock. Me, I much prefer the rocking.

I haven't heard any pedal-steel playing that I like anywhere near as much as what Kim Deschamps did in "Photograph". The solo makes me downright giddy.

Tremolo

(1997)

[album cover]

  1. Moon & Tree
  2. Shed My Skin
  3. No Miracle, No Dazzle
  4. Falling Down Blue
  5. I Could Never Be That Man
  6. Beautiful Blue
  7. Fallen from Grace
  8. Me & Baz
  9. Disappear
  10. It Could Happen to You
  11. Dragging On
  12. Brother Andre's Heart
  13. Frogs' Lullaby
  14. Graveyard

Lots of good songs here.

One of the first two is my favourite (though I don't know which). "Moon & Tree" has very cool pedal steel, seems slightly overdriven at the start of the solo. I don't know specifically why I like "Shed My Skin" so much, actually, but boy, do I.

Wow, a 12-string guitar on "Disappear". Don't hear a lot of that these days from anyone. Makes me want to tune up my Ovation. What a great song, too—hmm, maybe that's my favourite.

Or maybe "Graveyard" is. Well, probably not, but it's still really cool. Way to close the album with a real rocker.

"Dragging On" has the same easy-going feel as "Shed My Skin" and seemingly a lot of other Jim Cuddy songs. I love it.

"Fallen from Grace" is pretty catchy, too. And "Me & Baz" is really growing on me.

So anyway, this is probably my favourite Blue Rodeo album, or it was before I got Are You Ready. Not sure now.

The Days In Between

(2000)
  1. Cinema Song
  2. The Seeker
  3. Begging You to Let Me In
  4. Bitter Fruit
  5. Somebody Waits
  6. Andrea
  7. Sad Nights
  8. This Road
  9. The Days in Between
  10. Always Getting Better
  11. Rage
  12. Truscott

Great album.

I love "The Seeker". I'd like to hear a cover of it with an accordion instead of lead and rhythm guitars for some reason. (Keep the pedal steel, of course.)

The title track is good here but was much better on Austin City Limits. Bob Egan (who joined the band after this album) had a killer guitar solo.

"Somebody Waits" starts out sounding like it's going to be that "So Happy Together" song, whatever it's called. ("Imagine me and you, and you and me...")

"Rage" appears to be the obligatory "song for a self-destructive friend of the band". It's good, too.

Palace of Gold

(2002)

[album cover]

  1. Palace of Gold
  2. Holding On
  3. Homeward-Bound Angel
  4. Bulletproof
  5. Comet
  6. Walk Like You Don't Mind
  7. Love Never Lies
  8. Stage Door
  9. Cause for Sympathy
  10. What a Surprise
  11. Clearer View
  12. Glad to Be Alive
  13. Find a Way to Say Goodbye
  14. Tell Me, Baby
  15. The Railroad (live bonus track)
  16. Bad Timing (live bonus track)
  17. You're Everywhere (live bonus track)

Pretty good.

The band added a horn section for some of these songs. "Homeward-Bound Angel" would have been better off without, though.

The bonus tracks are good, especially "The Railroad", but the sax solo in "Bad Timing", a song I ordinarily like, pretty much kills the song for me.

Are You Ready

(2005)

[album cover]

  1. Can't Help Wondering Why
  2. Are You Ready
  3. Rena
  4. Up On That Cloud
  5. I Will
  6. Phaedra's Meadow
  7. Runaway Train
  8. Stuck on You
  9. Beverley Street
  10. Finger Lakes
  11. Tired of Pretending
  12. Don't Get Angry

It's pretty much a cliché to say, "The more I listen to this, the more I like it," but boy, is it ever the truth in the case of this album. Of course, it doesn't hurt that it's crazy-good.

I'm not particularly fond of "Phaedra's Meadow", but I really like all the other songs. The last three are just tremendous. I can only narrow my "favourite" down to a list of four: 5 and 10-12.

The trumpet in "Tired of Pretending" is beyond cool. At first, I thought it didn't fit past the intro, would have been better in a song with less other instrumentation, but I've since changed my mind. Completely.

Not a lot of keyboards on this album, and James Gray and the band "parted ways" during the ensuing tour. Hate to see that happen.

I used to be sure that Tremolo was my favourite Blue Rodeo album, but Are You Ready is right up there now. Tough call.

Small Miracles

(2007)
  1. So Far Away
  2. This Town
  3. Blue House
  4. 3 Hours Away
  5. It Makes Me Wonder
  6. Summer Girls
  7. Together
  8. Mystic River
  9. Black Ribbon
  10. C'mon
  11. Small Miracles
  12. Beautiful
  13. Where I Was Before

It's no Are You Ready, but as usual, plenty of good stuff. "Blue House" and "Black Ribbon" are great, among several others.

Nice to have some piano and other keyboards back in the mix. Good to meet you, Bob Packwood.

There seems to be a lot more steel guitar on this album than there was on the past few, too. Keep it coming.

The Things We Left Behind

(2010)

Disc 1:

  1. All the Things that are Left Behind
  2. One More Night
  3. Waiting for the World
  4. Never Look Back
  5. Sheba
  6. One Light Left in Heaven
  7. Million Miles
  8. Gossip

Disc 2:

  1. Don't Let the Darkness
  2. Arizona Dust
  3. In My Bones
  4. Candice
  5. Wasted
  6. You Said
  7. And When You Wake Up
  8. Venus Rising

Back to the CD rack

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Jeff Blank <jfb@mr-happy.com>